The Blackhawks have put up a few goals this season, but their roster is going to have nights when they’re offensively challenged. The Islanders aren’t going to light the lamp too frequently, and like it that way. They play a hard, banging game they try to keep in the 1-0 to 2-1 range, and they do it fairly well. So Tuesday night at the United Center set up for an easy time to bet the under.
A big collision early in the game changed the complexion for a few minutes, but the Blackhawks inability to take advantage of a power play left them chasing. The Islanders’ shot suppression game was working perfectly, and they were the hammer more frequently than the nail.
Star 1: Arvid Söderblom
When Alex Stalock left the game less than three minutes into the first period, the pressure was completely on Söderblom to keep the Blackhawks in the game. And the skaters did him no favors. They wasted a five-minute power play right away when he came in and then went to the penalty box three times in the final 8:16 of the first. Söderblom stopped eight of nine coming in cold in relief in the first period. He finished the night with 28 saves in relief.
Star 2: Jonathan Toews
The Blackhawks were about as flat as a Thursday newspaper for 50 minutes. Their first three power plays were boring, lifeless uses of time. The one guy who looked like he wanted anything on every shift was the captain — again. I know it feels like I’m becoming a broken record putting 19 in our three stars of the game, but the guy’s earning it.
The shift before the Islanders’ second goal was probably the best of the night to that point by the Blackhawks, and it was Toews’ line that was creating the pressure. He scored the Blackhawks’ only goal and was on the ice for the majority of the game’s faceoffs.
Star 3: The Yelling Kid
The first period of the game tonight was physical. After Stalock was knocked out of the game it felt like things were building to a significant altercation. Apparently both teams left the emotion in the dressing room during the first intermission because the second period was sponsored by melatonin.
However, shoutout to the kid sitting in front of the press box who was just shouting “SPORTS!” at the top of his lungs throughout the game. He was owning it. Do you, buddy.
- As I noted in the quick story during the first period about Alex Stalock‘s injury, the Blackhawks are in a tough spot. They only have four goaltenders under contract in the organization and… three of them are hurt right now. And the Hawks really only need someone to hold down the fort as a backup through Saturday; Petr Mrazek was at the morning skate on Tuesday and could be back after the Hawks’ four-day layoff to start next week. But what happens if all three are out for the games on Thursday and Saturday?
- The Blackhawks need to go back to the drawing board and remember to pull the trigger on the power play. They’ve started to get back to passing too much. Good things happen when you throw it at the net. See the Toews goal as a prime example.
- Maybe stay away from the decaf on Thursday? This was a lackluster performance.